So in the studio, we really never talk about weight loss or physical changes in fitness. Even though you will notice them on your own, we really don’t want to create any negative spaces for anyone. The shaming that goes on whenever the topic of weight loss comes up still bothers me in general, but it’s something we NEED to talk about. It’s not a black or white subject. We need to stop shaming and instead focus on understanding and supporting each other’s goals, even if they’re not the same as our own. So that made me wonder… is the body positivity movement causing a “shameful” vibe around weight loss? As always, I never want my opinion to seem hypocritical or muddy. So I think it’s time we get on the same page about my views on body positivity and physical changes.
What body positivity means to me?
Let’s start with body positivity. What I’ve learned is that everyone has their own interpretation of what it means, and that’s okay! So here’s mine:
To me, body positivity is a huge piece of self-love. It’s…
…looking in the mirror without picking yourself apart
…paying attention to your body and allowing yourself to be proud of everything it can do
…constantly evolving and not feeling like you have to accept or feel “stuck” with who you are
Most importantly, body positivity is NOT letting how you look rule your self-worth. Personally, branching off all of this self love, is using fitness and physical changes as an outlet for your everyday lifestyle. This is what fitness truly is. Finding something that you love and enjoying the hard work you put into it. Now enjoying the physical changes also comes along with that. It’s not a bad thing. Creating physical goals can push you to another level that you didn’t know you were capable of.
First of all, ANY goal gets you started. It lights the fire under you that so many people struggle to find. I can’t tell you how many people say they are going to start working out just because they “know they should.” That’s their reason. They go in aimlessly, without anything specific to work towards. That often leads to discouragement and giving up completely.
Second, having a physical goal is just more tangible. I think we can all agree that progress that you can physically SEE is one of the best motivators. There’s just nothing like seeing your hard work pay off. It’s a HUGE confidence booster. And when you feel more confident, you’re more willing to finally tackle other goals in your life that you’ve put off due to lack of confidence.
Lastly, the physical goals bring so much more than physical results. If you get the abs you want, you might notice that you stand taller and your back doesn’t hurt anymore. If your arms are more toned, it’s going to be easier to pick up your kids all day long. Your time in the gym might become your time to burn off stress or manage anxiety. Maybe you just needed the time for you. There’s an endless list of things that could stem from one little physical goal.
So what about weight loss? It’s confusing to me that people are expected to explain WHY they want to lose weight, or feel ashamed for desiring weight loss in the first place. It bothers me because I understand that sometimes weight loss can be a red flag of something deeper and negative going on. From mental health problems, to physical health problems, to drug addiction, I know that losing weight isn’t something that always needs to be celebrated. But we seem to be forgetting that when it’s done in an intentional, healthy way, weight loss DOES improve health. It can make our heart and lungs healthier. It can improve our mental health. It can decrease our risk for disease. And no one should feel ashamed for wanting to work on their body. Wanting to lose weight doesn’t mean you hate your body OR that you’re anti-body positive. To me, it all comes down to your mindset and the way you’re treating your body. Your “why” is what matters. If you want to work on your health and improve your body for the right reasons, then I think that is ALWAYS a positive thing. Plus, we all know the diet mentality is a hard one to shake. So if someone manages to work through that and lose weight in a healthy, body-loving mindset, why are we still shaming them? Setting a weight loss goal is okay. I’m a goal-oriented person. It didn’t rule my journey. I didn’t obsess over the number on the scale..especially after having a baby.
Basically, YES! It’s okay to want to lose weight if you do it in a healthy way. The problem is when people obsess over weight loss, they might get frustrated because no matter how intense their efforts are, they still don’t look like a certain celebrity. And then they’re angry at their body and might move on to more drastic measures. This is when it’s not okay. As a side note, we need to remember that the people we see on TV, magazines, and especially social media… it’s not always real. Many people have a professional team of hair, makeup, and stylists on standby to give them that all-natural, glowy look. And even if we don’t want to believe it, a lot of pictures are manufactured to look perfect. And this is why you just need to focus on you. No one knows your body and its needs better than you do. Be true to yourself…ALWAYS.
Your “why” is YOURS
If your “why” for working out and eating healthy foods starts out as something physical, that’s okay. Because your “why” is YOURS. Other people may not understand it, and that’s okay. It’s personal. What’s important is coming back to your “why” over and over again. Reflect and evaluate if it’s serving you, and keep going. That means if you started going to the gym for abs, it’s possible that after some time you’ll realize that now you want to KEEP going to the gym because working out makes you feel happy. On the other hand, reflecting on your “why” may help you realize that wanting abs has turned into feeling guilty every time you skip the gym. If your why isn’t serving you, it’s time to take a step back.My point is, you’re doing this for you. And with that comes the responsibility to take care of YOU. Isn’t that ultimately the purest level of self love
and body positivity?
Some tips for staying on track and keeping your goals positive
Here’s my advice if you set out on a physical fitness goal. Actually, it’s pretty much the same advice I’d give for ANY goal.
- Start small and make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Maybe journaling and writing them making them concrete will help too! I love the journals from Erin Condren!
- Have a secondary goal. If your goal is abs, also set a smaller goal to workout 3 times per week. Your big goal is going to take awhile, so having smaller ones to build on will keep you motivated!
- Don’t be hard on yourself, and remember to celebrate the small wins!
- Reflect and reevaluate your “why” constantly.
- Find a strong support system. That’s where we come in….True40. We are your tribe, your sisters, your support.
What’s most important to me is that we all support each other, love yourselves and one another!